Having recently returned to the Gospel of St. Mark, after several weeks of hearing St. John’s discourse on the Eucharist, we discovered in last week’s Gospel that Jesus is attempting to open our minds and hearts both to what defiles us from within and also defines us as children of God. If we were to take last week’s Gospel at face value, we might find ourselves quite depressed over the listing of vices that can come forth from within each of us; vices that arequite prevalent in the very world that we live in.
In general, there are three sorts of questions we encounter daily. First, there are things that sound like questions, but really aren’t. Second, things that don’t sound like questions, but really are. Third, there are real questions.
For instance, when we walk by someone we know in an office hallway or on campus or at the store, one of us says, “Hi! How are you?” Usually, we don’t want a real answer. If the person we have greeted stops and starts telling us about his recent medical exam, or about her mother in Altoona, generally we aren’t happy about it. It wasn’t a real question.
One of these scenarios has happened to all of us:
• You keep your Saturday afternoon schedule clear so you can watch a baseball game.
• You shuffle the children off to their grandparents so you and your husband can have one dinner where no milk is spilled, no food goes airborne, and the conversation involves more than the latest adventures of “Dora the Explorer.”
• You finally find a few hours to start that book or watch that movie everyone has been recommending.
And then the phone rings.
“So they went off and preached repentance. The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”
Hospitality was a sacred duty in the East. When a stranger entered a village, it was not his duty to search for hospitality; it was the duty of the village to offer it.
Some years ago, W. Timothy Gallwey wrote a book called The Inner Game of Tennis. In it Gallwey tells how one cold winter night he was driving from Maine to New Hampshire. It was about midnight, and he was on a deserted country road. Suddenly his Volkswagen skidded on an icy curve, slammed into a snowbank, and stalled.
The Gospel this Sunday addresses healing–our need for it, and Jesus as the source of it. Each of us, our families and our churches, our country and our world need healing. There is nothing more evident to us as we live in this moment of time. How can we find this healing?
Everyone likes a story. We get drawn into a good story and we moan at a bad story, but, nonetheless, we listen to it and it usually elicits some type of response on our part...a comment, laughter, a groan, or whatever the case may be.
Just the other day I came across an advertisement on YouTube about taking the perfect selfie. In it, the young woman described how essential it is in “this day and age” to have the right image out there, one that would involve no wrinkle nor blemish, and have just the perfect lighting, with no filter needed.
Friends, Leprosy is scary. True leprosy, what we now know of as Hansen’s disease, is a horrible disease that used to take anywhere for 7 to 30 years to kill its victims. In our day it can be treated but not cured, and many of the symptoms can be controlled through medication.
Every parent with more than one child has had the experience of turning to one of the children and saying, “Go get your brother for dinner”; and the child, without taking a step, turns and yells, “Tommy! Dinnertime!” And every parent always says the same thing: “Well, I could have done that!”
Jesus was about 4 months into his public life when the incident described in today’s gospel took place. By this time he had gathered his first disciples around him. He moved with them from Jerusalem (it was already dangerous for him there), through the alien land of Samaria, into Galilee.
As the Christmas and holiday seasons close, all of us, in some form or another, are trying to get back on track. Back to routines, resolutions, packing things away, and resume life as usual. It is a time to begin a new year and to renew resolutions and make new promises in the hopes to make this year different.
The Christmas season is over and now the children are back to school. We are getting back to normal, back to the ordinary life. The Church is also once again back to Ordinary Time; however, there is nothing ordinary about this season as it covers the whole of salvation history.
Today we celebrate the conclusion of another liturgical year. We have systematically celebrated the gift of God’s self-giving love to us humans, restoring us to a state wherein we can achieve the original Divine design for us … participation in God’s life of love.
The Gospel today has a play on words in English. A talent in Jesus’ time was a unit of coin of a large amount. A talent for us in English is of course the special gifts that God gives to each one of us.
The readings today provide an antonym between the Gospel’s message of rejoicing and the Second Reading’s message about grieving. Both are part of life and can be very close to each other. Today I may attend a solemn profession, tomorrow a funeral.
A quick glance at today’s first reading and gospel could lead us to declare this Sunday: Clergy Depreciation Day.
These readings offer profiles of ministry. Not all of these profiles are for our imitation, as you probably noticed. They are more a listing of what not to do, how not to act.
After silencing the disingenuous questions of the Sadducees, Jesus addresses the Pharisees whose question about the law was equally insincere. Although it is not expressed here, the follow-up of his response about loving God and neighbor is a warning to his hearers not to follow the example of the religious leaders, but to listen to the spirit of the law...
Flattery is excessive praise, usually employed to lower someone’s guard and make him vulnerable to being used or attacked. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is being set-up by a hostile group who hope to trap him in a maze of conflicting allegiances.
The reign of God is not so much about the menu as it about the guest list. Who can argue with the menu of juicy, rich foods and pure, choice wines? The first reading from the prophet Isaiah is a description of God’s great dream and hope...